COLCHESTER United have set high standards for themselves, this season.

Which is why back-to-back defeats - and shipping six goals in the process - have come as something of a shock to everyone.

There is no way of dressing up the U’s lacklustre showing at Port Vale.

It was a hugely disappointing display, one from which there were very few positives to take, if any.

Colchester looked a pale imitation of the side that had so impressively swept promotion-chasing Plymouth Argyle aside so ruthlessly having played arguably their most enterprising football of the season, seven days earlier.

The anger and disappointment felt by John McGreal has been evident in his last two post-match interviews.

The U’s boss knows that he can make no excuses for his players for their last two performances.

But as painful as the U’s back-to-back defeats have been to take for McGreal, he used one word in particular after the Port Vale defeat that seemed to resonate more than any other – perspective.

Put simply, Colchester have not become a bad side overnight.

It is unquestionable that they have given away some very poor goals over the last two games.

But as damaging as that has been, it is out of character for this U’s side, who despite shipping six goals against Vale and Grimsby Town still boast the third best defensive record in League Two.

At the other end, Colchester drew a blank in front of goal at Vale and frankly, did not really look like scoring on too many occasions.

They managed only shot on target but the truth is that only four sides have scored more goals in the division so far, this season.

It has been a bad few days for Colchester – of that, there is no question.

But they have 12 big games to go between now and the end of the season.

And despite their recent setbacks, the U’s are still residing in the play-off positions.

They have a full week now to get back to basics on the training ground, as they prepare for their game at Salford City.

It’s been nearly a year since Colchester suffered three straight defeats, in League Two and another loss would be detrimental to their play-off push.

Now is the time for them to get back to what they have done well throughout the majority of the season and rediscover the form that has established them as promotion contenders.